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Tales from Watership Down (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Tales from Watership Down (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

3.9 21
by Richard Adams

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Return Again to the Warren for
the All-New Adventures of Fiver,
Hazel, BigWig, Dandelion, and
The Legendary El-Ahrairah.

In one of the most enduring classics of contemporary literature, author Richard Adams enthralled millions of readers by creating a glorious world of danger and discovery at once uniquely strange and


Return Again to the Warren for
the All-New Adventures of Fiver,
Hazel, BigWig, Dandelion, and
The Legendary El-Ahrairah.

In one of the most enduring classics of contemporary literature, author Richard Adams enthralled millions of readers by creating a glorious world of danger and discovery at once uniquely strange and strikingly similar to our own. Come back now to this remarkable society hidden beneath the tall grasses and open fields; to old friends and new heroes whose courage and tenacity are tested at every turn by predatory nature and the short-sighted cruelties of man. Come back to the excitement and enchantment, to the heartsoaring wonder of a place called Watership Down.

Editorial Reviews

Sally Eckhoff

To those with an aversion to fairy stories, fake mythological lingo, and anything that anthropomorphizes animals, here's a book to make you swallow your doubts. Tales from Watership Down is a marvel. It consists of 19 stories, ostensibly about rabbits but actually concerning aspects of life - some mystical, some practical - that are traditionally hard to pin down. Hard, that is, Adams seems to argue, unless you're as sensitive as only a rabbit can be.

Adams is best known for two earlier books, Watership Down and The Plague Dogs, and for the films made from them. (He is also the author of Traveler, a moving and perceptive biography of Robert E. Lee's legendary war horse.) None of these quite convey the striking and often scary atmosphere he brings to this new collection, a full 20 years after we last heard from him.

Aside from the rabbits' vocabulary, which can be distracting, there's nothing prissy or inconsequential here. Adams clearly understands a great deal about rabbits, surely among God's poor because, as the old saw goes, He made so many of them. Rabbits are not only prey to what Adams calls "the thousand enemies," but to the cruel whims of the seasons. But few people can conjure up weather like Adams can, and hardly anybody has ever made an overgrown field in England sound so gorgeous and full of promise.

Rabbits' lives don't really have a point to them, not in any way people understand. Adams concerns himself instead with aspects of destiny that have to do with mysticism and nature - stuff we think we understand but really don't. The pure, unfamiliar feelings evoked in "The Story of the Three Cows" and in the gory "The Hole in the Sky" - just two of the stories here - persist for quite a while after you've finished reading them. How often do you get to step inside a wounded rabbit's delirium, or taste "the blessing of the years," a small animal's dreams of youth? And a laugh-out-loud nonsense yarn by a rabbit named Speedwell, with its crocus boats and sky-blue horses, may be the best carrot of all. -- Salon

Library Journal
This is Adams's long-anticipated encore to Watership Down (LJ 4/15/74), the enormously popular novel of rabbit life and adventure. With the small collection of self-contained short stories, plus a minisequel, fans and newcomers alike will marvel at Adams's singularly crafted world. Most of the stories follow the mythical adventures of El-ahrairah, a legendary rabbit hero whose quests of a bygone era served to furnish his species with, among other things, the common tools of survival, such as the sense of smell. Other, less fantastical tales, update the lives of the rabbits following General Woundwort's defeat at the end of Watership Down. As with the original novel, Adams avoids mere anthropomorphism, equipping the rabbits with their own unique characteristics. Sure to appeal to readers of every type, this is highly recommended for all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/96.] John Noel, Tennessee Tech Univ. Lib., Lebanon

Product Details

Turtleback Books
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4.30(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

The New Warren

A Cold Coming they had of it: . . . just, the worst time of the year, to take a journey . . . the weather sharp, the days short, the sun farthest off.

"Of the Nativity"

Kehaar, the black-headed gull, was flying westward above the land between Caesar's Belt and the Down. He flew low and in irregular curves from north to south and back, alighting every now and then at his leisure to feed for a while across any piece of likely-looking ground which attracted him.

He was not in the best of tempers. Naturally aggressive and quick to annoyance, like most gulls who live in competition with a myriad of others, he did not always like being asked to carry out tasks by the Watership Down rabbits. Showing pugnacity and attacking their enemies was one thing. Searching was another. Five months before, he had enjoyed taking part in their conflict with Efrafa, in diving on the formidable General Woundwort, in covering the re treat of Bigwig and the fugitive does in their flight from Efrafa and helping them to escape down the river. What he liked was onslaught. Nevertheless, after the rabbits had saved his life while he was lying injured and helpless on the Down, he had willingly performed for them the reconnaissance which had so unluckily ended in nothing better than his discovery of Efrafa.

Now, to have been asked to carry out another, similar flight had annoyed him, though not to the extent of refusing to do it. It had been tactfully requested. Hazel, who knew very well that of all his rabbits Bigwig was Kehaar's particular admirer and friend, had shrewdly left to him the business of explaining to the gull their purpose and whatthey wanted him to look for.

"We're going to start a new warren, Kehaar," Bigwig had said, dodging here and there between the gull's orange colored legs as he strutted over the thinning November grass, "before this one gets crowded out. Half the rabbits will come from here and half from Efrafa. We want you to find us the right place and then go to Efrafa and ask Captain Campion to come and meet us there and have a look at it."

"Vat kind of place you vant?" replied Kehaar. "And vhere do you vant it?"

"Somewhere out there on the sunset side," said Bigwig, "about halfway between here and Efrafa. It mustn't be any where near men's houses or gardens: that's very important. And we need a dry place, where digging's going to be easy. What would be perfect would be a bank on the edge of a copse where men don't come much and there are a few bushes to conceal the holes."

"I find him," answered Kehaar shortly. "Den I come and tell you, show you vhere. Show Efrafa fellow vhere too, yes?"

"That'll be grand, Kehaar. Splendid bird! What a friend you've been to us! We couldn't possibly do it without you."

"Not for vait about. I go now. Come back tomorrow, you come 'ere for me tell you, yes?"

"I'll be here. Mind out for the cats, won't you?"

"Yark! Damn' cat: 'e no catch me again."

With this he took off, flying southward in the chilly sunshine.

He flew over Hare Warren Farm and down to the strip of woodland known as Caesar's Belt. Here he foraged for a time and exchanged chat with a few gulls like himself.

"There's bad weather on the way," said one of these. "Very bad weather; the worst we've ever known. Snow and bitter cold out of the west. If you don't want to die, Kehaar, you'd better find some shelter."

Kehaar, flying on westward, soon felt, in the mysterious and unaccountable way of his kind, the impending cold which the chance-met gull had warned him of. Muttering "Damn' rabbits no fly," he went as far as Beacon Hill before turning back along a line further to the north. Soon he came upon as perfect a site for a warren as any rabbit could well wish for: a lonely, shallow bank facing southwest on the edge of a wood of ash and silver birch. In front lay a grassy field, where three or four horses were grazing.

He alighted and looked about him. Clearly, men must come fairly often to see to the horses, but equally clearly there was no likelihood of the meadow being plowed. He could see no sign of possession by rabbits—no holes, no hraka. He would be unlikely to find a better place. It lay, he judged, rather nearer Efrafa than Watership, but this was nothing against it in the light of its obvious merits.

The following day he met Bigwig, together with Hazel, Groundsel and Thethuthinnang, and told them of his discovery. Hazel, after praising him warmly, asked him to go to Efrafa, tell Campion, and find out how soon he could join them for a meeting at the site itself.

The business of arranging a meeting involved complications and a certain amount of danger. Campion would need to be guided by Kehaar, already surly at being asked to do so much. But the Watership rabbits would also need guiding. Plainly, one party would have to wait on the site for the others to arrive. There would be danger from elil. It was some time before everything was fixed. Campion sent word that he would start as soon as he learned from Kehaar that Hazel and the others had already reached the bank and were waiting for him. This would mean that the Watership rabbits would have to spend at least a night and a day in the open.

"Well, there's no help for it," said Hazel, "and at least we'll have Kehaar with us for the night, to attack any elil that may turn up. I'm ready to start tomorrow, if we can get there in a day."

"Ya, you get dere in a day," said Kehaar. "I take you, den next day fly to Efrafa, bring Meester Campion before dark."

They arrived at the site in early evening, and after silflay in the meadow, settled down to sleep in the long grass.

In the half darkness of the moonlit night they were at tacked by a male stoat. It was plainly confident of making an easy kill, but it had reckoned without Kehaar. Alerted by the frantic squealing of the rabbits, the gull dived from the ash tree where he had settled for the night, and wounded the stoat severely before it was able to extricate itself and make off into the copse. "I no kill 'im," said Kehaar ruefully, in reply to the rabbits' thanks, "but all the same 'e get big surprise, 'e no come back."

The following morning Groundsel consulted with Hazel and Bigwig. "I'm not easily frightened by elil," he said. "Woundwort knew that: that was why he picked me for his attack on your warren. But I don't fancy living in a place that's crawling with stoats and weasels."

"You'll be all right once your holes are dug," said Big wig. "What do you think, Hazel-rah? Ought they to start digging, at once, perhaps?"

At this point they were joined by Kehaar, who had evidently overheard Bigwig.

"You no start holes now," he said to Hazel as though giving an order. "You take your rabbits home plenty damn' quick."

"But why, Kehaar?" asked Hazel. "I thought we were all ready now to bring out rabbits from both warrens and get started."

"You no get started now," said the gull, even more emphatically. "You start now, you lose every damn' rabbit you got."

"But how?"

"Cold. Frost, snow, ice, every damn' t'ing. Coming soon, very bad."

"Are you sure?"

"Yark! Ask any bird you like. Any rabbit try to stay 'ere, live in open, 'e frozen dead. Vinter cold coming, Meester 'Azel: bad, bad cold. You take rabbits home, whole damn' lot today."

"But you brought us here yesterday and never said any thing about frost."

"I no feel 'im yesterday. Yesterday I t'ink you got time to start. But today feel different. You no got time. Cold coming very soon."

Knowing and trusting Kehaar as they did, the four Watership rabbits set off for home at once, while the gull flew to Efrafa to tell Campion that the project was postponed. Campion was skeptical. "It doesn't look like frost to me."

"Den you go out dere, you make damn' fine ice rabbit," said Kehaar, and flew away without another word.

Copyright ) 1997 by Richard Adams

Meet the Author

Richard Adams is the author of many bestselling novels, including Watership Down (1974), Shardik (1976), The Plague Dogs (1978), The Girl in a Swing (1980), Maia (1985), and Traveller (1988), as well as several works of nonfiction, including his autobiographical The Day Gone By (1991). He and his wife live in the south of England.

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Tales from Watership Down 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
StefanYates More than 1 year ago
Tales from Watership Down is a collection of legends and short stories that flesh out the history of the rabbits of Watership Down and continue their story after the events of the original novel. I personally had never read any of Richard Adams works prior to this (I have seen the animated film adaptation of Watership Down however, so was fairly familiar with the events and plot.) I was very impressed with how quickly I was drawn into Adams' world. His writing style is very easy to slip into and I found this collection of tales extremely difficult to put down. Mr. Adams has created a social world amongst his rabbits that is as totally believable and feels as fleshed out as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, albeit Adams world only exists in the one novel and this compilation of short stories. I don't know why I've never read any of his works before as they have always been favorites of my step-father and accessible to me throughout my lifetime, but now that I have sampled his writing, I'm more than eager to delve into more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and the first one! I think its funny how the bunnies have thier own religion. My favorite characters are El-aharia(i probably mispelled that), bigwig, and blackberry and pimpkin. But its sooo sad how hazel dies at the end of the first book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
not quite as good as the first book but still great. fans of watership down will almost certainly love it.(be sure to read 'speedwell's story'!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Aside from one or two bits, I must cofess that I was extremely disappointed in this book. I felt that in an attempt to add on to an already complete story, Richard Adams got to modern and ceased to remain true to his original characters. It does however include the complete story of 'The Fox And The Water' that Bluebell tells the to rest of the rabbits when Efrafa is attacking the warren. So it's probably worth at least one read if you are a real Watership fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some deatils shold show up in the first but don't
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful and thrilling book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His name is El-arairah.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love rabbits and watership down, so i think that the book is great!!! It is sometimes a little boring, but i think that this is an awesome book becauz the bunnies have their own belif, just like us. This book is my third fav. BOOK. Children in third grade might not like it ( and im saying MIGHT). This book was totaly exsiteing for me, and at night i did not want to stop reading it!! Like i said, it was an awesome book and i loved it, but it was boring in some parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For the people talking about reading it to thr children, this is a book mostly for adults. Kids might not want to get tjis read to them because theyre just kids! I read ths book in just two days in fourth grde and understood it perfectly. So stop complaining about how its a horrible read for children. It is the best book ever and I would suggest it to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this book. At times it was slightly dullish, it was well wrote. I liked part 2 the best because it contunes the first book with a new tale. So pleade read the whole book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I love the 1st book.This was so dissapointing and boring.I thought it was gonna be like watership down not just them telling stories of what happened in the 1st book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tales From Watership Down is a (for lack of a better word) different book. I loved it because it doesn't really have a plot. It's just some more stories about my favorite character, El-ahrairah. Richard Adams has, once again, provided readers of all ages a truthful book about how rabbits actually live(apart from the speaking and the lapine religion stuff).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book because it opened my heart and it is amazing how rabbits live!! I am an animal lover and I lovee it so much!! You really must keeping making them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you read WATERSHIP DOWN, you should read the long awaited sequel, TALES FROM WATERSHIP DOWN.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really great book. The perfect sequel to WATERSHIP DOWN.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rabbits seem to have their own way to live in a civilized world. The way these rabbits have such good freindships among one another really brings this book together as a group of rabbits that sit around and tell stories of other rabbits and what the other rabbits have done. There are some really fasinating stories told by the rabbits that are unbeleiveable. This is a story book for young kids and should be read to young kids. But I would'nt pick this book to read to one of my kids. It's not an exciting book at all.